Smart meters have the potential to help improve energy efficiency in Europe, but according to European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx they also create a number of privacy issues. The EDPS believes that these meters can "enable massive collection of personal data," including specific details such as when someone is at home or whether they use a medical device. This past March the European Union announced a massive rollout of smart meters — the goal is to have 80 percent of all electricity meters in the EU replaced with smart meters by 2020, which today are found in just 10 percent of households.

"The potential for extensive data mining is very significant."

According to the EDPS, one of the main issues is that the EU hasn't provided "more specific, more comprehensive, and practical guidance" to member countries with regards to data protection. "The EDPS calls on the Commission to assess whether further legislative action is necessary at EU level to ensure adequate protection of personal data for the rollout of smart metering systems," assistant supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli said. The EU is currently creating a "data protection impact assessment template" with regards to smart meters that it plans to present at the end of the year in London.